Article written by Katie Dye
As soon as we knew that COP 26 was taking place in Glasgow, we decided that we had to be there. We had less than high expectations that the conference would make the decisions necessary to halt the catastrophic damage that our planet is suffering, but we felt the need to add our voices to those protesting and urging change.
As we walked around Glasgow on Friday evening, we were struck by almost every hoarding and neon screen proclaiming a commitment to tackling the climate crisis by so many corporate organisations- all well-known for their climate-killing actions. Glasgow was overwhelmed with greenwashing!
On the Saturday morning we took the subway to Kelvingrove Park to join the demonstration, and we found ourselves surrounded by fellow protestors before we even arrived. It was uplifting to see that the train was packed with people holding banners, signs and stickers, sending messages and joining us to show their concern.
Despite the cold, wet weather, the park was full of life and colour as individuals and groups of all ages and many nationalities came together to raise their collective voices. People had travelled from around the world- hundreds had walked or cycled from much farther than from Leeds- and had brought their energy along with them, creating an atmosphere only describable as a festival. Activists in costume, indigenous leaders in ceremonial dress, music, chanting, drama, art- the park was spilling over with an intense and contagious feeling of both concern and hope. We felt quite emotional.
Noisy, upbeat, and insistent, the march took over Glasgow for most of the day, hugely impressive and overwhelming in size. Of course, we got a lot of support along the way from people applauding from the pavement or cheering at us from windows- we truly knew that we were a part of something huge and important.
Arriving at Glasgow Green, cold and wet but satisfied by having raised our voices, we made our way to the stage and heard a wonderful line-up of inspirational speakers from around the world describe the catastrophic impacts of climate change and call for action.
We left feeling that we had raised our voices as much as possible and returned home the next day further determined to speak out and to play our part in the climate justice movement, spurred by the unmatchable feeling we took away from the march.